Hungary’s Gold Repatriation …

… Adds to Growing Protest Against US Dollar Hegemony

by GoldCore

Zero Hedge (March 13 2018)

* Hungarian National Bank (“MNB“) to repatriate 100,000 ounces gold from Bank of England

* Follows trend of Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Belgium each looking to bring gold back to home soil

* Hungary one of the smallest gold owners amongst central banks, with just five tons

* Central bank gold purchases continue to be major drivers of the gold market

* Russian central bank gold reserves now exceed those of China

* Decisions to repatriate and increase gold reserves come as rifts between East and West widen

A country’s sovereignty is becoming the driving force of so many changes in the geopolitical sphere, today. Whether it is Brexit, surprise electoral victories in central Europe, or a change in trade deals, sovereignty is at the forefront of so many of these decisions.

One of the first indicators that there was a change in the water when it comes to globalization and international cooperation was through central bank gold buying and repatriation.

For some time now many central banks have been working on building up their gold reserves and ensuring they are stored on soil it believes to be safe and trustworthy.

The most recent central bank to make this change is that of Hungary. Last week it was announced that it intends to bring 100,000 ounces of its very limited five tons gold reserves, back home from the Bank of England.

This is not an unusual move. In recent years we have seen the likes of Germany, Venezuela, and the Netherlands each repatriate their gold from various locations. The pace does appear to have been picking up since the late Hugo Chavez decided to bring home 180 tons of gold in 2011.

Furthermore, huge central banks, namely Russia and China, have been adding to their gold hoards, one more publicly than the other. Both have also been encouraging the use of gold as a means of payment in international trade as a means of avoiding US dollar hegemony.

The decision to place more focus on gold reserves is a statement by central banks and their governments to reduce the counterparty risk on their reserve assets. When holding another country’s currency you are vulnerable; the same applies to when a third-party holds your gold at a time when their own assets are perhaps more exposed than you’re comfortable with.

Russia, China, and Turkey Leading the Gold Rush

Hungary’s decision on gold repatriation was not something that made the mainstream news. After all, 100,000 ounces is very little when you consider that Russia increased its physical gold exposure by twenty tons in January 2018 alone.

Hungary decision is, however, a major comment on the current mindset of countries that feel they need to start working to protect their finances and borders. Hungary’s political changes are widely known and have been criticised extensively by both the EU and the wider Western world.

The decision to bring gold home is a statement that says Prime Minister Viktor Orban would rather have the country’s assets close to home rather than in the hands of a country that perhaps does not have his own best interests at heart.

This is a common theme, not just reflected in gold repatriation decisions but also in gold purchases.

Russia, China, and Turkey have each materially increased their gold reserves in recent years. Since March 2015, Russia has bought gold every single month. January’s purchase took their reserves above those of China, a level which had previously been monitored as an example of the East’s great interest in moving away from US dollar dominance.

China has been famously coy about its gold reserves. Apart from the period from July 2015 to October 2016, China only reported its gold reserve increases at various multi-year intervals. Most recently it has been reporting zero additions to the IMF.

Russia’s reasons for buying so much gold is akin to those of China, Turkey, and smaller countries such as Kazakhstan. Gold gives each of these countries independence from the US dollar amid financial sanctions, trade wars, and ongoing posturing by the West.

The West is Also Full of Gold Bugs

Whilst many in the West are dismissive about gold, the behavior of central banks suggests quite a different mindset. The top four holders of gold are all from the West. Germany, the second largest has been making big strides of late to show their interest and faith in gold.

Not only did they make the decision to repatriate a large proportion of their gold back to home soil but they also recognized that transparency, when it came to the country’s gold reserves, was paramount.

… another milestone and a global first, an additional fourth step towards increasing transparency was taken with the publication of a list of all German gold bars, totaling around 270,000 in number. The Bundesbank has now published this roughly 2,400-page list three times since October 2015, even though it involved a series of significant challenges. There is no “blueprint” for inventory lists of gold holdings and, in 2015, virtually no central bank in the world had ever released such a list.


Act Like a Central Bank

Gold cannot be devalued as the euro, dollar, sterling, and all fiat currencies currently are. It cannot be confiscated as can deposits through bank bail-ins, and it is extremely difficult to confiscate gold coins and bars if owned in allocated and segregated storage in safe vaults in the safest jurisdictions in the world.

Gold is a borderless money that acts as the ultimate reserve and safe haven in a diversified portfolio. This is something central banks are strongly aware of. The difference between the East and West banks is that the East is making big strides to bring gold to the forefront of their international affairs.

By adding gold to their reserves they are gaining equal footing with Western banks who have so far tried to dominate under a US-centric financial system.

Much of the above may sound as though it does not apply to the everyday saver and investor, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The decision to move assets into physical gold is a decision to take control of your portfolio and to reduce the counterparty risk to which it is exposed. This is no different whether you are a bank with billions or a person with a few thousand.

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It’s Too Late to Worry …

… about “Normalizing” Trump. Decades of Policy Did That for Him

by Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone (March 2018)

Kaster/AP/REX Shutterstock The United States helped create the pre-condition for Trump by continually spreading the idea that it’s OK to ally ourselves with leaders who abuse their subjects.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Max Boot, the noted Washington Post columnist, and “Jeane Kilpatrick senior fellow for National Security Studies” at the Council for Foreign Relations, thinks Donald Trump is betraying American values by meeting with Kim Jong-Un.

Such a meeting, Boot says, would mean “giving the worst human-rights abuser on the planet what he most wants: international legitimacy”.

Let’s unpack that one for a minute. We’re worried now about giving human rights abusers legitimacy?

The idea that we don’t legitimize human-rights abusers is a laugh-out-loud joke everywhere outside America. You could fill a book chapter with the history of the friendly relations between American presidents and just the foreign dictators who are credibly reported to have eaten other human beings.

Here’s a cheery letter from Gerald Ford inviting Central African Republic dictator Jean-Bedel Bokassa (the remains of thirty people were found in his crocodile pond upon ouster) to Washington.

We helped install Idi Amin, too. He later denied rumors of cannibalism, saying human flesh was “too salty”, but he had other equally upsetting hobbies. We’ve supported a couple of generations of Nguemas in Equatorial Guinea, both of whom – uncle Macias and nephew Teodoro Obiang – reportedly ate their political enemies.

This is in addition to the countless Batistas and Suhartos and Diems and Marcoses and Pinochets who were just murdering thieving monsters we legitimized not by sitting down with them at the negotiating table, but by making them allies we showered with things like arms and money.

The problem with Trump is that he’s too stupid to be embarrassed by such relationships. He constantly makes all of Washington look bad by jumping too enthusiastically into bed with the blood-soaked juntas and anti-democratic governments we more quietly embraced in the past.

Over the weekend, for instance, Trump horrified progressives when he called for the death penalty for drug dealers, an idea he said he got from Chinese President Xi Jinping. “I don’t know if this country’s ready for it”, Trump moaned.

This is monstrous, of course, and God help us if we actually try to enact this policy.

But the fact that we’re so tight with repressive China, to begin with, is on Trump’s predecessors, who should have taken a harder line on human rights issues a long time ago.

For decades, American officials in both parties have overlooked China’s horrific record on human rights. Both continually lobbied for China to keep receiving Most Favored Nation status and other trade benefits, largely because corporate donors wanted it.

The real measuring stick we use when it comes to determining whether a foreign regime is irredeemably monstrous or an important ally is whether the leaders we’re talking about are our bast***s, or their own bast***s – puppets, or freelancers.

Dictators who take the throne with our backing get weapons and cash. The ones who do it without our backing usually find themselves getting a nice healthy dose of regime change sooner or later.

Sometimes the offender starts out as an American lapdog only to leave the kennel and instantly become a Dangerous International Human Rights Offender.

Manuel Noriega was on the CIA payroll until 1988, but later became disobedient and found himself holed up in a nunnery listening to invading American troops blaring “I Fought the Law” (the Clash version, in a nice detail) as they waited for him to surrender.

Saddam Hussein was another friend-turned-target, as was Diem and a few others. The line between friend and pariah in our foreign policy is incredibly slim. It really has nothing to do with anything beyond the political utility, to America, of the regime in question.

This is why the debate over Trump meeting with Kim Jong-Un is so absurd. The crime here isn’t meeting with a dictator – we snuggle up to worse creeps all the time – the crime is meeting with an out of pocket dictator.

Rachel Maddow last week struggled to articulate why she was so opposed to negotiations with North Korea. Her basic take seemed to be “Nobody has ever met with the dictator of North Korea, therefore nobody should ever meet with the dictator of North Korea”.

A lot of self-described progressives seem to be agreeing with her. This is interesting since the same idea was incredibly popular among the same audience not long ago.

On July 23rd 2007, at the Citadel in South Carolina, Democratic presidential candidates held the first presidential debate of the 2008 election cycle. In it, an audience member asked if candidates would be willing to meet with leaders of countries like Syria, Iran, and North Korea.

“I would”, Obama said. “And the reason is this: the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of [the Bush] administration, is ridiculous”.

As a colleague pointed out to me over the weekend, this was one of the moments that first endeared progressives to Barack Obama, precisely because it defied bipartisan Washington consensus. True to form, after that debate, both Hillary Clinton and George Bush (“Some seem to think we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals”) ripped Obama’s naivete.

The idea that the United States does not negotiate in public until the enemy has already surrendered in private has long been a bedrock principle in DC.

It’s one of the reasons why people in other countries hate us so much. It’s also why our “peace proposals” so often read like ultimatums.

A classic example was the Rambouillet deal presented to Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic agreed to the key principle of an independent Kosovo but didn’t want the deal secured by Nato troops, as outlined. He preferred the occupying troops fly under a UN or an OSCE flag. We told him to take the deal or be bombed.

He wouldn’t budge, we bombed him, and our news media consistently misreported this war-starting sequence of events. The New York Times went so far as to say Milosevic “absolutely refused to entertain an outside force in Kosovo”.

The current consensus on North Korea is basically the same. It’s said repeatedly we shouldn’t countenance a meet with the mad dictator until the mad dictator agrees in advance to surrender. Doing anything else makes us look weak, and gives a public relations win to a murderous autocrat. And we wouldn’t want that!

The flamboyant horribleness of Trump is allowing warmongering, democracy-hating hacks on both sides of the aisle to rewrite history. They’re penning a new creation story that dates America’s embrace of murderous dictators to Trump’s election.

“Another morning in America”, sighed Paul Krugman, after Trump invited Egypt’s ruthless Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to Washington last year, and called him a “fantastic guy”. Politico chimed in: “Critics worry the president has a love for tyrants and little interest in promoting human rights and democracy”.

What these people left out of their outrage is that we’d been supplying Sisi with jets and missiles since the Obama years. As The Intercept pointed out, exactly the same thing happened when Trump and Tillerson cozied up to the repressive Bahrain regime (who began receiving arms from us in 2015).

One of the constant themes we hear on social media and from pundits is that the press has to go the extra mile to avoid “normalizing” Donald Trump. The problem is that when it comes to embracing autocratic regimes, Trump actually is normal. We should be ashamed not just of him, but of the decades of votes we cast for politicians who did the same things.

We helped create the pre-condition for Trump by continually spreading the idea that it’s okay to ally ourselves with leaders who abuse their subjects – who push dissenters out of airplanes, electrocute their genitals, bomb women and children, and so on – so long as our economic interests are protected.

I would love to be able to point a finger at Donald Trump and say, “The United States does not sit down with murderous dictators!”

But we can’t say that, can we? Not with a straight face, anyway.

Categories: Uncategorized

Income Inequality in the US …

… is Even Worse than You’ve Been Led to Believe

Data show the country is failing its lower and middle-income earners miserably.

by Alex Henderson {1}

Alternet {2} (March 06 2018)

The more the ultra-rich prosper, the less they’re burdened with taxes, the greater the benefits for society as a whole. If you’re familiar with Republican economic theory of the past forty years, you’ve probably heard this line of reasoning. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Take it from the world’s third richest man, Warren Buffett, who recently noted that between 1982 and 2017, “the wealth of the 400 {richest people in America} increased 29-fold {3} – from $93 billion to $2.7 trillion – while many millions of hardworking citizens remained stuck on an economic treadmill. During this period, the tsunami of wealth didn’t trickle down. It surged upward {4}.”

The reality is the United States is now home to some of the worst income inequality in the developed world {5}, and thanks to the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this wealth gap will grow exponentially wider.

Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, the GOP’s massive overhaul of US tax law exemplifies trickle-down economics at its worst. Trump supporters insist that corporations will generously share their gains with employees, but according to economist Robert Reich, “almost all the extra money is going into stock buybacks {6}” rather than wage increases. Because the richest ten percent now own 84 percent of stock shares {7} in the US, he emphasizes, this will do little to nothing to improve the prospects of most Americans.

According to the firm Birinyi Associates, a record $170.8 billion worth of buybacks {8} and counting have been announced since the president signed these tax cuts into law. Reich has denounced the legislation for creating greater inequality in a country that is already radically unequal.

In 2017, the World Bank’s Gini index, which measures inequality country by country, cited Haiti, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and the Central African Republic as the world’s five most unequal countries {9}. (The most economically balanced nations include Norway, Ukraine, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and the Slovak Republic.) Gini data also show that measured against other developed countries, the United States is failing its lower and middle-income earners miserably.

Citing the 2015 Gini data of 34 countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently found that the top ten percent in the United States earned 18.8 times more than the bottom ten percent. By comparison, the wealthiest ten percent of Danes, Fins, Belgians, Germans, and Australians earned 5.2, 5.5, 5.9, 6.6, and 8.8 times more than the bottom ten percent respectively. In Mexico, the most economically unequal country in the OECD’s report, the rich earned 30.5 times more than their poorest compatriots.

The 2018 World Inequality Report {10}, compiled by Thomas Piketty and other economists and released in December, also paints a troubling picture of the United States’ wealth distribution. According to the study, the top one percent of US wage earners went from owning eleven percent of the national income in 1980 to twenty percent in 2016 {11}. The bottom fifty percent’s share of the national income dropped from 21 to thirteen percent over the same time period. In Western Europe, the one percent’s control of national incomes has risen from ten to twelve percent, while the bottom fifty percent’s share has held steady at 23 percent – undesirable, perhaps, but decidedly more equal.

Although the US remains the largest economy in the world, it is hardly the most inclusive. While Wall Street and Silicon Valley are thriving, OECD data indicate we not only suffer from harsh inequality but some of the highest rates of poverty in the developed world. In 2014, according to organization’s findings, the United States’ poverty rate was 17.2 percent {12} compared to 10.4 percent in the UK, 9.1 percent in Germany, nine percent in Austria, 8.9 percent in the Republic of Ireland, 8.8 percent in Sweden, and 8.6 percent in Switzerland. Even in Greece, perhaps the European country hit hardest by the Great Recession, poverty was slightly lower than the US in 2014, with a rate of 15.1 percent.

As a Republican candidate for president, Trump railed against out-of-touch elites, vowing to “make America great again” and revitalize the American Dream. Yet his administration’s proposed federal budget {13} includes draconian cuts {14} to a long list of social programs, including food stamps, housing, and heating assistance {15}. On the campaign trail, Trump insisted he would not touch Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, but his budget would defund Medicare {16} by $266 billion, Medicaid by $1.1 trillion, and Social Security by $72 billion.

What’s more, Trump has opposed raising the national minimum wage {17} significantly, if at all. And by eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will cause thirteen million Americans to lose their health insurance by 2027 and increase premiums by ten percent, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Covered California, an ACA exchange program, has estimated that premiums could increase by as much as thirty percent {18} in the Golden State in 2019.

The Trump administration has done everything possible to exacerbate inequality in the US and undermine what little remains of the New Deal’s progressive policies. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has even praised Trump and Republicans in Congress for making “a great effort to break out of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt model” {19}. If the US remains on its current economic trajectory, there won’t be an economic safety net left to shred.


Alex Henderson’s work has appeared in the LA Weekly, Billboard, Spin, Creem, Pasadena Weekly, and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter @alexvhenderson.





















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Categories: Uncategorized

The Myth of a Neo-Imperial China

by Pepe Escobar

CounterPunch (March 16 2018)

The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China. That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, aka Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI“).

The epicenter of global power shifting East is rattling US Think Tankland to the core – with a proliferation of parochial analyses ranging from Chinese “imperial overstretch” to Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream provoking “nightmares” {1}.

The basic argument is that Emperor Xi is aiming for a global power grab by mythologizing the New Silk Roads.

What’s actually happening is BRI giving a new meaning to Mackinder’s dictum that controlling the World-Island means controlling Eurasia – the drive behind the late Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski’s whole career.

BRI is certainly about China’s massive foreign exchange reserves; the building know-how; the excess capacity in steel, aluminum, and concrete production; public and private financing partnerships; the internationalization of the yuan; and full connectivity of infrastructure and information flows.

Yet BRI is not a matter of geopolitical control supported by military might; it’s about added geopolitical projection based on trade-and-investment connectivity.

BRI is such a game-changer that Japan, India, and the “Quad” (US, Japan, India, Australia) felt forced to come up with their own “alternative”, much-reduced mini-BRIs – whose collective rationale essentially lies in accusing BRI of “revisionism” while emphasizing the need to fight against Chinese global domination.

The basis of the Trump administration’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy, introduced in October 2017, was to define China as a hostile existential threat. The National Security Strategy (“NSS“) and the National Defense Strategy (“NDS“) amplified the threat to the level of a new doctrine.

The NSS states that “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity”. The NSS accuses China and Russia of wanting “to shape a world antithetical to US values and interests”. It also accuses Beijing of “seek[ing] to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region” and of “expand[ing] its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others”.

The NDS states that Beijing “seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future”.

That’s the new normal as far as multiple layers of the US industrial-military-surveillance-media complex are concerned. Dissent is simply not permitted.

Time to Talk to Kublai Khan

“Revisionist” powers China and Russia are regarded as major double trouble when one delves into the direct link between BRI and the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (“EAEU“). The EAEU is itself one step ahead of the Russia-China strategic partnership announced in 2012, crucially a year before Xi announced BRI in Astana and then Jakarta.

At the BRI forum in Beijing in May 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin solidified the notion of a “greater Eurasian partnership” {2}.

The Russian “pivot to Asia” started even before Maidan in Kiev, the referendum in Crimea, and subsequent Western sanctions. This was a work in progress along multiple sessions inside the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (“SCO“), the BRICS and the G-20.

Kazakhstan is the key link uniting BRI, EAEU, and the SCO. Russia and Kazakhstan are part of one of the top overland connectivity corridors between East Asia and Europe – the other going through Iran and Turkey.

Xinjiang to Eastern Europe by rail, via Kazakhstan and Russia, currently takes fourteen days, and soon will drop to ten. That’s a major boost to trade in high value-added merchandise – paving the way to future BRI high-speed rail able to compete head-on with low-cost maritime transport.

As for Moscow’s drive to be part of BRI/EAEU economic connectivity, that’s only one vector of Russian foreign policy. Another one, as important, is enhanced German-Russian trade/investment relations, a priority also for German industrialists.

China for its part is now the top foreign investor in all five Central Asian “stans”. And it’s crucial to remember that Central Asia is configured not only by the five “stans”, but also by Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Afghanistan. Thus the SCO drive to solve the Afghan tragedy, with direct participation of major players China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran.

The BRI strategy of forging a pan-Eurasian connectivity/logistical grid naturally poses the question of how Beijing will manage such an open-ended project. BRI is not even in its implementation phase, which officially starts next year.

It’s useful to compare the accusations of “revisionism” with Chinese history. When Marco Polo reached the Yuan court in the late thirteenth century he saw a multicultural empire thriving on trade.

It was the Silk Road trade routes and not the projection of military power that epitomized Pax Mongolica. The 21st century Pax Sinica is its digital version. Is Xi is a new emperor, he’s a post-modern version of Kublai Khan.

The Yuan dynasty did not “control” Persia, Russia, or India. Persia, a superpower then, linked the Nile, Mesopotamia, and the Indus with trade with China. During the Tang Dynasty in the eighth and ninth centuries, China also had projected influence across Central Asia all the way to northeastern Iran.

And that explains why Iran, now, is such a key node of BRI, and why the leadership in Tehran wants the New Silk Roads solidified. A China-Russia-Iran alliance of – Eurasia integration – interests cannot but rattle Washington; after all the Pentagon defines all those geopolitical actors as “threats”.

Historically, China and Persia were, for centuries, wealthy, settled agricultural civilizations having to deal with occasional swarms of desert warriors – yet most of the time in touch with each other because of the Silk Road. The Sino-Persian entente cordiale is embedded in solid history.

And that brings to what lies at the heart of non-stop BRI dismissal/demonization.

It’s a sort of Mackinder revisited. It’s all about preventing the emergence not only of a “peer competitor”, but worse: a New Silk Road-enabled trade/connectivity condominium – featuring China, Russia, Iran, and Turkey – as powerful across the East as the US still remains across the much-troubled “Western Hemisphere”.

That has nothing to do with Chinese neo-imperialism. When in doubt, invoke Kublai Khan.





Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (2007), Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge (2009), Obama Does Globalistan (2009) and Empire of Chaos (2014). He may be reached at

Categories: Uncategorized

Will Washington Launch a “False Flag” …

… on Russia’s Election Day?

by Mike Whitney

The Unz Review (March 17 2018)

We have reliable information at our disposal that US instructors have trained a number of militant groups in the vicinity of the town of At-Tanf, to stage provocations involving chemical warfare agents in southern Syria … They are preparing a series of chemical munitions explosions. This fact will be used to blame (Syrian) government forces … Strike groups of US naval carriers with cruise missiles are being formed in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, in the Persian Gulf and in the Red Sea … We note the evidence of preparation for possible attacks.

– General Sergey Rudskoy, Russian General Staff spokesman (March 17 2018)


The United States is closer to a war with Russia than any time since the Cuban missile crisis, but brainwashed Americans don’t have a clue about what’s going on.

Here’s what’s happening: The US’s situation in Syria has significantly deteriorated in the last two weeks. Washington hoped that its CIA-backed militants would be able to maintain a toehold in East Ghouta allowing them to continue to fire mortars and rockets into the urban center of Damascus thus putting additional pressure on the Syrian government. But the flow of jihadists from Raqqa and al Tanf in the east was unexpectedly cut off by battle-hardened combat troops from the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah. That blockade was followed by the encirclement of the East Ghouta pocket by elite units of the Tiger Forces that rapidly split the battlespace into three cauldrons that have shrunk with every passing day.

The Syrian Army (“SAA“) ground assault on terrorist enclaves has been swift, focused, and ferocious. In a matter of days, the SAA has recaptured seventy percent of rebel-held territory, killing hundreds of jihadists in the onslaught while Russian bombers have pounded their hideaways mercilessly for more than two weeks. The Syrian blitz has been a wake-up call for the Washington warlords who clung to the faint hope that their Sunni footsoldiers would be able to hang on indefinitely and reverse the course of the war. With the collapse of East Ghouta and the ongoing routing of the mostly foreign-born proxies, that hope has gone up in smoke. If the Battle of Aleppo was Syria’s Stalingrad (World War Two “turning point”), then the Battle of East Ghouta was Syria’s Battle of Kursk, “the theater that held the key to overall victory in the war”. The outcome of the war in Syria is no longer in doubt. The Axis of Resistance won (aka Russia-Syria-Iran-Hezbollah).

This is why Washington is in a state of panic, they can finally see the handwriting on the wall. Their precious New World Order is being ground into dust in a pock-marked urban wasteland 10,000 miles from Washington. And, that’s why the rabid Nikki Haley has ramped up her hyperbolic performances at the UN Security Council. Here’s what she said just last week:

When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action … the United States remains prepared to act if we must. It is not a path we prefer. But it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again.


Is she serious? Is Washington really planning to bomb Syrian troops in East Ghouta – which will unavoidably kill Russian Special Forces and advisors in the process – to save their jihadist proxies from impending annihilation? Is that worth risking World War Three?

The panic in Washington is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s not just Nikki Haley doing her trademark “off my meds and out of therapy” performance, it’s the entire political establishment and their media sock puppets, they’ve all succumbed to the anti-Russia hysteria. These people have simply lost touch with reality. Their collective angst is splashed almost daily across the headlines in the most provocative language imaginable. The demonization of Vladimir Putin has reached levels that were not seen at any time during the Cold War. It is absolute madness, and it’s all because Washington’s maniacal globalist plan to use foreign-born proxies to topple the legitimate government of Syria has fallen flat on its face. Are we, as Americans, supposed to feel bad about this? Are we supposed to feel some sense loyalty to the internationalist cockroaches who have seized the levers of state power and use them to kill and maim people across the Middle East for some elusive project to rule the world?

Hell, no!

The spurious claims that Putin poisoned a double agent and his daughter fit perfectly within this same sordid strategy to vilify those countries that are, in fact, defending the principles upon which the international order rests: State sovereignty, strict borders, self-determination, and non intervention, all of which have been discarded like garbage by the “exceptional” country that puts itself squarely above the law.

There is no more proof that Moscow was involved in the poisoning of the Russian double agent than there is that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. None. The whole matter is a risible remake of Colin Powell’s appalling “Anthrax” slapstick at the UN, where the career general sacrificed his personal credibility and integrity to hoodwink America’s allies into a savage war of annihilation on the Iraqi people. Theresa May is merely taking over where Powell left off. Her job is to build the case for war whether there is proof or not. The cabal of western leaders has decided that Russia must pay for its impudence, that more must be done to ratchet up the pressure on Russia, and that Putin’s resolve must be put to the test.

But how far can Putin be pushed, that is the question, isn’t it? And how will he respond if Washington takes things to the next level? Will he respond proportionately, overwhelmingly, or not at all? Washington wants to know. The US figures it’s gone as far as it can with mere sanctions, demonization, and armed proxies. Washington has decided that a limited but direct confrontation is the next logical step. Judging by the outpouring of deranged fulminations in the media, the decision to attack has already been made. (That is my guess, at least.)

Russia has become the biggest single obstacle to Washington’s global ambitions. Trump’s new National Defense Strategy makes that point quite clear. Moscow is blocking US plans to redraw the map of the Middle East, control vital resources and pipelines corridors, and pivot to this century’s most prosperous markets in Asia. All of that is now at risk, and Russia is to blame. Is it any wonder why the media denounce Putin as “The New Hitler”?

The defeat in East Ghouta changes everything. The gloves are coming off and Washington is ramping up for a shooting war with its biggest emerging rival. The hostile and frantic statements issuing from Nato headquarters and from UK, France, and Germany all suggest the momentum for war is building and that an attack could be launched in a matter of days. Some analysts believe the US will fire cruise missiles from warships in the Mediterranean as early as March 19, a date that was picked to coincide with the Russian presidential elections.

Leaders in the Kremlin are taking these threats seriously, and have warned that if the US attacks their troops or advisors in Syria, Russia will retaliate, and they will attack the platforms from which the missiles were launched. They will aim their missiles at US warships in the Mediterranean. Think about that for a minute: The lunatics in Washington are mulling over a calculated attack on Russia (in Syria) that could quickly escalate into a nuclear war just so they can find out whether Putin is bluffing or not. Isn’t that why Tillerson was just replaced for Pompeo, so the behind-the-scenes power brokers would have another warmongering neocon nutcase in a position of authority who would breezily rubber-stamp their plans for nuclear holocaust?

These people at completely out of control.

Washington has a lot riding on this. The New World Order (“NWO“) is not a fantasy, it’s a plan for melding together banking systems, trade policy, open borders, one-dominant currency, and the endless recycling of revenues into US debt instruments. It’s a strategy to ensure that the world’s wealth continues to flow upwards and into the bulging coffers of the western plutocrats who oversee the system and manage its wars. I don’t see any other option for the globalists running the show than to launch a precision aerial assault from warships in the Mediterranean to see if they can reverse the situation on the ground and improve their chances for victory in Syria. As crazy as it sounds, they think it is a risk worth taking.

The hope is that Putin will not retaliate, or if he does, that he does not attack US warships directly. But that’s a pretty risky bet; after all, if Putin does NOT attack the platforms from which the missiles were fired, then he’ll be inviting similar attacks in the future. So, his hands are tied. He must retaliate or face the consequences in the future.

The next few weeks are going to be very tense. We’ve reached the point where the US will have to either confront Russia militarily or accept that their vicious project in Syria has failed. My gut feeling is that the foreign policy establishment is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. They are going do something very risky and very stupid. They’re going to roll the dice and hope they don’t come up snake-eyes.

Whatever the decision may be, we should know soon enough. I think we could see signs of provocative activity as soon as the presidential elections begin in Russia on March 18. I hope I’m wrong.

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Israel’s Disturbing Policy …

… of Assassinating Scientists Has Finally Been Revealed

by Darius Shahtahmasebi

The Anti-Media (March 07 2018)

For the first time, the covert elements of an Israeli plot to undermine Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions – including the assassination of Iranian scientists – has been uncovered, Politico reports {1}.

Based on interviews with high-ranking Israeli, American, British, German and French sources, Politico closely details what it termed the “biggest intelligence, political, and diplomatic operation ever waged in order to stop a country’s project for the development of weapons of mass destruction”.

According to Politico, Israel’s anti-Iran strategy was comprised of five major tactics:

Heavy international diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, support to Iranian minorities and opposition groups to help them topple the regime, the disruption of consignments of equipment and raw materials for the nuclear program and, finally, covert operations, including the sabotage of installations and targeted killings of key figures in the program.


The strategy of containing Iran’s advancements towards developing nuclear weapons technology mainly relied on the idea that sanctions would either cause a major economic crisis that would completely derail Iran’s chances of pursuing nukes or that sanctions would weaken the government to the point that Israel-backed opposition groups could overthrow the government.

Suddenly, the protests rocking Iran earlier this year following Iran’s grave economic woes {2} make a lot more sense in this context. Whether a result of the US-Israeli plan to destabilize Iran or not, it cannot be disputed that Iran’s current economic situation, due to years of relentless economic sanctions, has led to widespread discontent {3} with the Iranian government, which could be used to sow the seeds for a potential revolution.

According to Politico, supporting these efforts to target Iran’s nuclear program relied upon a “quadrilateral collaboration” between the CIA, the NSA, the Mossad, and the Israeli military agency known as AMAN, formalized by then-American President George W. Bush and then Israeli-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert through a cooperation pact. Politico notes that this was an unusual relationship, even for countries with ties as strong as Israel and the United States.

It should also be noted that these same agencies, including the Mossad and the CIA {4}, have openly stated over the years {5} that they have no proof Iran is attempting to build a nuclear bomb, even after they claimed they had discovered a secret uranium enrichment facility buried under a mountain near Qom.

Politico explains that the aspect of Israel’s strategy involving assassination of Iranian scientists was solely done by the Mossad, as according to Politico’s sources, the US would not agree to participate in it. The Mossad then compiled a list of fifteen key Iranian researchers as targets, and Israel went ahead with its extrajudicial assassination program using a variety of techniques, including booby-trapping motorcycles situated next to the scientists’ cars.

“These targeted killings were effective”, Politico wrote. “Information reaching the Mossad indicated that they brought about ‘white defection’ – meaning that the Iranian scientists were so frightened that many requested to be transferred to civilian projects.”

As Politico explained, assassinating scientists is illegal under American law (a disturbing act when one considers the victims of these attacks – mere academics), and the US did not want to know about these plans. According to former CIA Director Michael Hayden, however, this was the one stand-alone measure Israel took that successfully put a halt to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“It was that somebody was killing their scientists”, Hayden said, according to Politico.

However, this is not the only option Israel put on the table back in 2010. According to the report, Israel strongly maintained a direct military strike option, an option that would have put the Obama administration in a precarious position, compromising the president’s bid for re-election in 2012.

Politico explained:

They [the Israelis] ordered the Israel Defense Forces and the intelligence arms to prepare for a huge operation: an all-out air attack in the heart of Iran. Some $2 billion was spent on preparations for the attack and for what the Israelis believed would take place the day after – a counterattack either by Iranian warplanes and missiles or by its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah. The latter could use either the 50,000 missiles it had stockpiled (by 2018, Israeli intelligence estimated the number had increased to 100,000), or it could activate its terror cells abroad, with the assistance of Iranian intelligence, to strike at Israeli or Jewish targets. This is what it did in 1992 and 1994, when it responded to Israeli attacks in Lebanon by blowing up the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the Jewish community center AMIA in that city, with a massive number of casualties in both attacks.


The strike plan never took place, of course, but according to Politico, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to use it to put pressure on the US government to achieve its objectives.

Further, approximately a month ago, author Ronan Bergman released a book {6} detailing how Israel had taken part in over 2,700 assassination operations in its mere seventy years of existence as a state. Rather than questioning the legality of such lethal operations, the mainstream media either refuses to address it or more or less outright endorses Israel’s strategy.

Ultimately, a close reading of Politico‘s report shows a clear attempt to give Israel’s overbearing anti-Iran policy credit for derailing Iran’s perceived ambitions to develop a nuclear weapon, even when it has not been established that Iran was ever developing nuclear weapons to begin with.

“The series of successful operations also had an additional effect”, Politico wrote:

One that Israel did not initiate but that ended up working to its benefit: Iran began to fear that Israel had penetrated their ranks, and thus started devoting huge efforts to locating their leaks and trying to protect their personnel against the Mossad. The Iranians also became paranoid about the possibility that all the equipment and materials they’d acquired on the black market for their nuclear project – for very large sums of money – were infected, and they examined and reexamined each item over and over. These efforts greatly slowed the progress of the nuclear project as a whole. [emphasis added]


Even when Politico appears to be critical of Israel’s strategy, the criticism does not go far enough in holding Israel accountable for its criminal actions. Take, for example, this concluding passage, which states:

Throughout their successive histories, the Mossad, AMAN. and the Shin Bet – arguably the best intelligence community in the world – provided Israel’s leaders with operational responses to every focused problem they were asked to solve. But the intelligence community’s very success fostered the illusion among most of the nation’s leaders that covert operations could be a strategic and not just a tactical tool – that they could be used in place of real diplomacy to end the geographic, ethnic, religious, and national disputes in which Israel is mired. Because of the phenomenal successes of Israel’s covert operations, at this stage in its history the majority of its leaders have elevated and sanctified the tactical method of combating terror and existential threats at the expense of the true vision, statesmanship and genuine desire to reach a political solution that is necessary for peace to be attained.



According to Politico, Israel was arguably mistaken to continue these policies at the “expense of the true vision, statesmanship and genuine desire to reach a political solution”, but there is no mention of holding Israel accountable for its grave violations of international law with the same kind of standards we see the media holding states like North Korea {7} to (which, by the way, is not known to carry out operations on a scale that could ever rival the Israelis).

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The US Threatens to Bomb Syria …

… While Putin Promises to Retaliate

by White Whitney

The Unz Review (March 15 2018)


The replacement of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo signals a hawkish shift in the administration’s foreign policy that is clearly intended to prepare the country for a confrontation with Russia. Pompeo was not chosen for his diplomatic skills or his nuanced grasp of foreign relations but for his hardline approach to issues like North Korea, the Iran nuclear agreement, and the so-called “Russian threat”. With the nomination of Pompeo, Trump has abandoned his campaign promise to end the foreign interventions and regime change operations and has instead aligned himself with a small group of arch-neocons who are fully committed to US global domination through the application of hard power.

Not surprisingly, the right-wing Weekly Standard is already celebrating Pompeo’s nomination although his appointment is far from certain. Here’s a short excerpt from an article that Weekly Standard published on Wednesday titled “Iran-Deal Critics Praise Pompeo Nomination”:


The Senate’s top Iran hawks heaped praise on the president’s nomination of CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Tuesday, and critics of the deal on and off Capitol Hill expressed confidence that Pompeo’s presence would place renewed pressure on negotiations to fix the Iran nuclear deal – or nix it …

“Tillerson and his team really weren’t preparing for the possibility of a world without a flawed Iran nuclear deal”, the staffer continued. “But Pompeo is at least intellectually open to thinking about how does the United States prepare for a world without the Iran deal, and making sure that we prevail in such a world. He will come at the Iran issue with a fresh set of eyes.” …

“For those Europeans (and Americans) who think Trump is not serious about walking away on May 12th if there’s no agreement to fix the Iran nuke deal, I give you Exhibit A: his soon-to-be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo”, said Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. {1}


The Iran nukes deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as it is known, prevents Iran from building nuclear weapons and enforces the strictest nuclear weapons inspections regime in the history of The International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA“). Even so, it is despised by neocons and right-wing Israeli who see it as an obstacle to Tel Aviv’s ambitions for regional hegemony. Now, these extremists will have an ally at the State Department who will make every effort to sabotage the agreement in order to achieve their strategic objectives. (For the record, Pompeo has called Iran a “thuggish police state” and promised to “roll back” the nukes deal.)

Pompeo can also be trusted to put the kibosh on the upcoming face-to-face negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong-Un. According to The Washington Post:


“Mike Pompeo has been in sync with President Trump from day one – on North Korea in particular”, said Patrick Cronin, a scholar at the Center for a New American Security. “There has been no doubt that he has been instrumental in shaping the administration’s maximum-pressure-and-engagement strategy”.

Pompeo, like Trump, believes that talking with North Korea is pointless and that the DPRK will only respond to force. He will demand that Kim Jong-Un take verifiable steps towards denuclearization in exchange for nothing, not even minimal security guarantees that the US will not unilaterally attack the North sometime in the future. Pompeo is entirely inflexible on this issue. He recently responded to a question in a televised interview saying: “Make no mistake about it, while these negotiations are going on, there will be no concessions made” (March 11 2018). He also added this ominous rejoiner: “We are focused like a laser on achieving (denuclearization). We are equally, at the same time, ensuring that the – if we conclude that it is not possible, that we present the president with a range of options that can achieve what is his stated intention” (January 23 2018).

By “range of options”, Pompeo means overwhelming military force which suggests that he will encourage Trump to preemptively bomb (nuke?) the North.

It is already clear that Pompeo will not negotiate the terms of an agreement with the DPRK, Iran, Russia, Syria, or anyone else for that matter. His job at State will be to inform foreign leaders what Washington expects of them and what the consequences will be if they fail to comply.

There’s also a good chance that Pompeo will be assisted in his duties by former UN ambassador John Bolton who met with Trump last week and may soon replace National Security advisor, H R McMaster. Bolton, who served in the G W Bush administration, is a radical war-hawk who helped to build the case against Saddam Hussein and who at various times in his career supported attacks on both North Korea and Iran. He also supported the partitioning of Syria to create what he dubbed “Sunnistan” in the eastern part of the country. Here’s more on Bolton from an article at VOX:


Bolton’s history suggests a long and storied history of cherry-picking intelligence to support his preferred hawkish policies … Bolton drafted a five-page memo detailing his proposal for tearing up the (Iran nuclear) deal, which he then published in National Review … In a 2015 New York Times op-ed, Bolton advocated for a US and/or Israeli airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities. “Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed”, he wrote. “Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran” …

… And in February 2018, he published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal arguing that the US needed to solve the nuclear standoff with North Korea by force … “Pre-emption opponents argue that action is not justified because Pyongyang does not constitute an ‘imminent threat’. They are wrong”, Bolton wrote. “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first”. {2}


Bolton believes that war is the solution to every problem, which is why Trump’s biggest supporters are likely to feel betrayed by his appointment. It’s worth noting, that “candidate Trump” cast himself as an “America First” non-interventionist not a warmongering neocon. Here’s a couple of quotes from Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign that helps to illustrate why many voters thought his policies might be dramatically different than Hillary Clinton’s:



We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past … We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments … Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States] … We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism … In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will. {3}


And there’s this:


We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems – our airports and all the other problems we have – we would have been a lot better off, I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East – we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have been wiped away – and for what? It’s not like we had victory.

It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized, a total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States on schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart! {4}


The Pompeo nomination along with the possible replacement of McMaster for Bolton suggests that Trump has been swallowed up by the neocon-riddled foreign policy establishment (The Borg) and is now prepared to do their bidding. In recent days, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley has delivered a number of threats directed at Russia that would lead any reasonable person to conclude that Washington is laying the groundwork for a direct confrontation with Russia in the very near future. Here’s an excerpt from one of Haley’s recent hysterical performances at the UN:


When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action … We warn any nation determined to impose its will through chemical attacks and inhuman suffering, but most especially the outlaw Syrian regime, the United States remains prepared to act if we must. It is not a path we prefer. But it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again. {5}


Top Russian officials, including Army General Valery Gerasimov, are taking Haley’s threats seriously and are prepared to retaliate if the lives of their military personnel are endangered in any US-led attack.

“In the event of a threat to our military servicemen’s lives, Russia’s armed forces will take retaliatory measures to target both the missiles and their delivery vehicles”, Gerasimov said, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency. Gerasimov also said that Russia has hard facts about preparations for a false flag chemical weapons attack that will be followed by a US missile attack on Syrian Army positions in East Ghouta where US-backed jihadists have suffered heavy casualties lately in a major battle where their forces have been splintered into three small cauldrons that are surrounded by Syrian elite Tiger Forces that are rapidly tightening the noose. The jihadist defeat is imminent which is why Washington’s false flag operation should be seen for what it is: A last-ditch effort to assist its proxy-army of Sunni militants in their failed attempt to topple the government of Bashar al Assad. The US is desperate to reverse the course of a conflict that is clearly moving in Russia’s favor.

The situation in Syria is further complicated by British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spurious accusations that Russia was involved in the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Not only has May failed to produce a scintilla of hard evidence to verify her claims, she has also refused to provide Russia with samples of the proscribed substance which is required under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Russia needs these samples to acquit itself of the serious charges which May has leveled at them and to challenge her expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats who were declared persona non grata without due process and without any communication with the Russian Foreign Office. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that May is merely following Washington’s diktats as did Tony “The Poodle” Blair in the lead up to the war in Iraq.

In response to May’s claims, the Russian Foreign Ministry has made an official statement which it posted on its website on March 14 2018. It reads:

The March 14 statement made by British Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament on measures to “punish” Russia, under the false pretext of its alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter, constitutes an unprecedented, flagrant provocation that undermines the foundations of normal dialogue between our countries.

We believe it is absolutely unacceptable and unworthy of the British Government to seek to further seriously aggravate relations in pursuit of its unseemly political ends, having announced a whole series of hostile measures, including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the country.

Instead of completing its own investigation and using established international formats and instruments, including within the framework of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – in which we were prepared to cooperate – the British Government opted for confrontation with Russia. Obviously, by investigating this incident in a unilateral, non-transparent way, the British Government is again seeking to launch a groundless anti-Russian campaign.

Needless to say, our response measures will not be long in coming.{6}


The nomination of war-hawk Pompeo, the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the UK, and the tense situation developing in East Ghouta strongly suggests that the Trump administration is preparing to test Putin’s resolve and see if he will defend his Syrian allies (by retaliating against the United States) or whether it’s all just a bluff. In any event, the US is now closer to a shooting war with Russia than any time since the Cuban missile crisis only, this time, we don’t expect cooler heads to prevail. Colonel Patrick Lang, Retired senior officer of US Military Intelligence and US Army Special Forces (The Green Berets) who was the Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia, and Terrorism – summed it up best in a recent post at his excellent website Sic Semper Tyrannis when he said:


Pompeo’s nomination and his eventual confirmation brings the world closer to a US-Russia war. If that happens it will be difficult if not impossible to keep the war from escalating toward the use of nuclear weapons. Israel wants war, a wrecking war with Iran. Israel wants the US to win that war for Israel. In my opinion, Israel would be wrecked in such a war whatever the outcome. This is an August 1914 moment.


God help us.









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